Friday, July 29, 2016

Review: The Hidden by Heather Graham

The Hidden (Krewe of Hunters, Book #17)
by Heather Graham
Release Date: September 29th 2015
2015 Mira
Ebook Edition; 301 Pages
ISBN: 978-0778318583
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars


Estes Park, Colorado, is a place of serenity. But it wasn't always so serene. Shortly after the Civil War, Nathan Kendall and his wife were murdered there, leaving behind a young son. The crime was never solved.

Now…historian Scarlet Barlow is working at a small museum attached to a B and B, the same building where that murder occurred. She recently came to Colorado, reeling after her divorce from FBI agent Diego McCullough. Diego—who's just been asked to join the Krewe of Hunters, a unit dealing with "unusual" situations…

When Scarlet unwittingly takes pictures of people who've been murdered—just like the Kendalls a hundred and fifty years before—the police look at her with suspicion. Then the museum's statues of historic people, including Nathan Kendall, begin to talk to her, and she knows it's time to call her ex-husband. Diego heads to Estes Park, determined to solve the bizarre case that threatens Scarlet's life—and to reunite with the woman he never stopped loving.

My Thoughts
The Hidden is the next book in the Krewe of Hunters series, a series that I have enjoyed quite a bit.  Reading these books is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I tend to indulge in between the heavy hitters as a way to relax and get my mind off those deeper novels as let's face it, these novels tend to be light, beach-worthy material, but they can also be a lot of fun too.  I do have to admit that I was a bit disappointed in this one though as it felt like Graham's usual magic wasn't there; too many cliched moments, too many coincidences, a lack of Graham's trademark paranormal skill, and a missing chemistry between the characters just didn't make me like this one as much as the others.

First of all, I couldn't wait to find out Scarlet and Diego's story having met Diego in a previous novel. While I definitely understood their issues which are common in a lot of marriages, I didn't quite get their reunion and how quick they were to jump into bed without resolving any of the issues; and the resulting internal monologues were actually a distraction from the story.  Do I or don't I?  How about the characters sitting down and discussing the issues that tore them apart in the first place?  Don't get me wrong, I love the romance in Graham's books, but here it seemed forced and phony and I wasn't too keen on the way it was done and resolved.

Most of the characters were likeable, but again, nothing really stood out for me in this one.  While I can clearly remember the first few books in this series, I doubt the same thing will happen for me here.  While I like Diego, I think I actually preferred him in the previous novel as I thought he was more interesting.  My biggest character issue had to do with one of the local police officers; he had a total change of personality part-way through the book and I still can't figure out why.  I actually thought he was more interesting when he was questioning Scarlet or questioning the people at the B and B rather than completely caving in and agreeing with everything.  At least it shows he was thinking events through rather than just aimlessly following the FBI agents along like a puppy.  I've never minded tough or strong characters as long as it's justified and makes sense and not just thrown in the novel to create tension.

The Hidden is definitely not the strongest entry in this series. Overall I thought the writing was not on the same level as the previous entries and the mystery left me questioning a lot of things at the end; you tend to leave a certain level of believability behind when you read paranormal novels but Graham has usually been pretty good at tying up loose ends and making things sound pretty credible. I don't think she really succeeded with this one, and I don't think the ending helped.  There was definitely an intriguing premise though, and it's too bad the novel didn't quite live up to it.  Will I read another one by this author?  Of course.  I've read quite a few that I've enjoyed tremendously, and I'm hoping the next one will be up to her usual standards.